Riordan wins nail-biter to clinch third title
Story by: The Nelson Mail - Photo by: Chris Symes
Takaka's Sean Riordan sank a 1.2m putt on Sunday's final hole to win his third straight Golden Bay Open title by one shot, after staving off a late charge by his Tasman representative team-mate Nick Van Leeuwen.
Riordan carded identical rounds of 68 in perfect autumn conditions.
He had pars on the last seven holes, sinking several difficult putts, to keep his focus and stay ahead of the competitors breathing down his neck.
It produced a nail-biting finish, after Motueka's Van Leeuwen made a run of four consecutive birdies on 14, 15, 16 and 17 to improve from one-over-par to three-under with one hole to play.
Had Riordan missed his final putt, he would have faced a playoff against Van Leeuwen in fast-fading light.
More than 140 people from Tasman district, Canterbury and Australia contested the 36-hole tournament, with only a little drizzle on Saturday morning affecting play.
Earlier, Riordan was tied with Joel Taylor before Taylor dropped shots on holes nine, 10 and 11.
Shay Hamilton eagled the fourth and birdied the sixth and eighth to get within two shots.
After Saturday's round, Riordan had been tied on 68 with Taylor and Jared Armstrong, just one shot ahead of Nelson professional Glyn Delany.
Best overall nett winner was Motueka's Steve Vercoe on 131 for the two days, with Takaka's Graeme Sargent taking out the best overall stableford of 81. The senior nett winner was Greenacres' Paul Salvadore with 136, and the senior stableford winner was Nelson's Jared Armstong with 75.
Motueka professional Jaimee Lee Moses scored 153 for the best women's gross, nine shots better than Greenacres' Lesley Baxter, with the best nett going to Murchison's Sue James on 150. Greenacres' Katrina Manaena won the stableford with 67 points.
Takaka players dominated the intermediate and junior grades. Len Trent won the intermediate gross with 157 and Jason Arnst the intermediate nett with 133. Rex Heuvel won the stableford with 73 points. Among the juniors, Graeme Bradley's 167 was the best gross, Doug Collis scored a best nett of 136, and Graeme McNeil won the stableford with 75 points.